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Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit

Strange Attractor Net metering (517 comments)

I don't know what's going on in Germany now. Thirty years ago, according to a German I knew, you had to pay for the power you didn't use if you generated your own.

But bringing up spinning reserve and dispatch issues is helpful. The research paper from LBL that spawned the Cmputer world article has the title "Financial Impacts of Net-Metered PV on Utilities and Ratepayers: A Scoping Study of Two Prototypical U.S. Utilities". The key is "Net-Metered". In the two locations that I know about, customers are paid at least the same price per kilowatt-hour for energy that they provide as they pay for energy that they consume regardless of time. Since the cost of energy in electrical power girds changes over time, such pricing is not appropriate. Also as Luckyo points out, there is a cost for providing "spinning reserve" which is the capability of providing additional power on a fraction of a second's notice. Such reserve is necessary in order to have reliable power delivered to variable loads.

about 2 months ago
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Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

Strange Attractor Why talk about war but avoid talking about gas? (789 comments)

I am shocked/amazed/disappointed that there is so much talk about war, but no serious consideration of Europe trying to get through the winter without Russian gas. War is incomparably worse than burning your furniture to keep warm. If Europe can't begin to figure out how to get by without Russian gas, I, as a US citizen, don't want my country participating in any kind of military activity to support them.

about 3 months ago
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The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

Strange Attractor Re:Why municipal broadband? (250 comments)

Because it is a natural monopoly. Other natural monopolies, like roads, water, sewer, electric power and gas are either public (in my town) or are regulated monopolies. Internet access is a uniquely profitable unregulated natural monopoly. I recommend buying stock in the operators.

about 3 months ago
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Biofeedback Games and The Placebo Effect

Strange Attractor Lie detector (57 comments)

Isn't this the same con perpetrated by the lie detector industry?

about 4 months ago
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A Skeptical View of Israel's Iron Dome Rocket Defense System

Strange Attractor Re:Chain of reasoning (379 comments)

Reading TFA, that chain of reasoning occurred to me too. While I share some of TFA author's prejudices, I am persuaded by the comments here from folks claiming to be in Israel. I prefer judgement based on facts to facts based on values.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Professional Journaling/Notes Software?

Strange Attractor Text file (170 comments)

You are right.

I use simple text files. I like them more than paper notebooks because:
1. I can edit them from anywhere that I can use ssh
2. They are easy to search
3. They are easy to back up

The comments (including the parent) that suggest simple text files and editors have all been modded down to 0. I don't understand why.

about 7 months ago
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Australia May 'Pause' Trades To Tackle High-Frequency Trading

Strange Attractor Markets should be synchronous (342 comments)

Perhaps it would be better to accumulate orders without making them public for intervals of say a second or a minute. Then at the end of each interval execute buy and sell orders with overlapping prices.

about 8 months ago
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Study Finds Methane Leaks Negate Benefits of Natural Gas-Powered Vehicles

Strange Attractor Short lived greenhouse gases help persuade (102 comments)

If people let enough methane escape to change the climate, it would be a short term disaster and teaching opportunity. It seems better than releasing enough CO2 to get the same change in temperature, because with CO2 the the effect would last so much longer.

about 9 months ago
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Judge Says You Can Warn Others About Speed Traps

Strange Attractor But Florida isn't sooo flat (457 comments)

that you can see everything from anywhere?

about 10 months ago
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Australian Teen Reports SQL Injection Vulnerability, Company Calls Police

Strange Attractor Lucky that it wasn't Intel (287 comments)

When Randal Schwartz probed security at Intel, they made him a convicted felon. See http://www.lightlink.com/spacenka/fors/

Morals:

1. Finding security holes is dangerous

2. You should buy AMD CPUs

about a year ago
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How much of your media do you store locally?

Strange Attractor media is plural of medium (187 comments)

It's the physical stuff on which one conveys or stores information. My physical stuff is mostly in my house.

about a year ago
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Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers

Strange Attractor Physical Review is non-profit (259 comments)

Physical Review is published by the APS http://www.aps.org/about/ which "is a non-profit membership organization". I feel much better about such publishers than I feel about Elsevier.

about a year ago
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Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers

Strange Attractor Re:Wide Dissemination vs LockBox (259 comments)

That would be good.

I don't understand why the faculty of universities haven't already done it. University faculty provide the labor to produce and publish the papers (printing is irrelevant now), then publishers sell/rent those papers to university libraries. Professional societies live off of that income, and the likes of Elsevier extort higher prices for less good. The expense is crippling the libraries.

Just writing about it gets me angry.

It is like politics, blaming Cruz or Elsevier misses the point. The blame lies with the voters and university faculty; their choices create the market incentives that rational agents serve.

about a year ago
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Why Amazon Is Profitless Only By Choice

Strange Attractor Did DEC ever pay a dividend? (258 comments)

I used DEC computers from 1975 through the 1980's till I switched to SUNs. It was a great company that made great machines. While I used their machines, they had never paid a dividend because they believed they should use profits to grow the business. I don't know if they ever paid dividends. I wonder how DEC's IPO price compared to what COMPAQ paid for the company at the end.

about a year ago
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Two-Laser Boron Fusion Lights the Way To Radiation-Free Energy

Strange Attractor Half MeV Beam (140 comments)

See the nice wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aneutronic_fusion.

  Protons with a kinetic energy of about 500,000 electron volts have a good chance of producing 3 alpha particles with about 17 times as much energy when they hit a boron-11 nucleus. Unfortunately, a .5 MeV proton beam penetrating solid boron loses energy to electrons at about 100 times the rate that it produces energy via the induced fission. Thus you must move the electrons aside before you can start making money.

about a year ago
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The Next Big Fiber Showdown: Austin

Strange Attractor Natural monopoly (230 comments)

Digging duplicate trenches to lay parallel fiber is wasteful. That's why utilities are "natural monopolies". Getting economic efficiency in such situations usually requires regulation or community ownership.

about a year ago
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Exxon Charged With Illegally Dumping Waste In Pennsylvania

Strange Attractor A cube less than 6 meters on a side? (246 comments)

That's what I get for 189 tons of water.

Does anyone else get something different?

Chlorides, barium, strontium and aluminum? I suppose that it was not as bad as water from the Great Salt Lake.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Magazines Do You Still Read?

Strange Attractor IEEE is the dark side (363 comments)

I find that IEEE locks up research results that I pay for as a tax payer. It is a minor inconvience for me to use the library at work, but it would be prohibitive if I were a middle income indpendent scientist or engineer.

The IEEE also has policy statements that oppose policies that advance the public interest. Take a look at: http://www.ieeeusa.org/volunteers/committees/ipc/index.html and http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20090922030639824

After 30 years, I dropped my membership. The IEEE no longer advocates or implements policy for the public interest.

about a year and a half ago

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